Gothamist Summer Guide: 20 Things To Do In August

<br/><br/>How is it August already? So far this summer we've seen a <a href="">bevy</a> of <a href="">new</a> <a href="">restaurant</a> <a href="">openings</a>—including some with <a href="">very</a> <a href="">pricey dishes</a>—and at least one <a href="">successful Manhattanhenge</a>. July treated us to record heat, which had us scrambling to <a href="">stay cool</a> and reminded us of the <a href="">importance of hydration</a>. So what does August have in store? Click through for our picks on how to enjoy the final days of summer before it's back to school!

Photo via onesevenone's Flickr

<br/><br/>In 2003, an audience of 200 people gathered in Central Park for a screening of <em>Annie Hall</em>. A decade later, the <strong><a href="">Central Park Conservancy's Film Festival</a></strong> has grown by leaps and bounds, with larger audiences and more films. This year, the Conservancy will screen five "cult classic" films in one week, starting with Spike Lee's seminal <em>Do The Right Thing</em> on August 21st. Salvatore 'Sal' Fragione himself, <a href="">Danny Aiello</a>, will be on hand at the screening for a Q&amp;A with audience members. The festival continues on with <em>Pee-wee's Big Adventure</em>, <em>The Big Lebowski</em>, <em>Animal House</em> and then a viewers choice between <em>Coming To America</em> or <em>Clerks</em>. All screenings begin at 8 p.m., with picnic grounds opening at 6:30 p.m.<br/><br/><em>August 21st - 25th, 8 p.m. // Central Park, north of the Sheep Meadow // Free</em>

Photo via Central Park Conservancy's Flickr

<br/><br/>Meadow Lake in Flushing hosts the 22nd annual <a href=""><strong>Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival</strong></a>, a celebration of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar which features music, Chinese food, martial arts demonstrations and most importantly, dragon boat racing. Over 170 teams from across the US and Canada compete in boats festooned with dragon heads and tails, each with at least 18 rowers and a drummer on board to keep the stroke rhythm going. Be sure to check out the opening day parade at noon on Saturday, which will feature lion and dragon dancing teams and percussionists.<br/><br/><em>August 4th and 5th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Flushing Meadows-Corona Park // Free</em>

Photo via JMazzolaa's Flickr

<br/><br/>The <strong><a href="">Fringe Festival</a></strong> returns for its sweet sixteen this month, once again bringing independent theatre into the spotlight. The festival, the largest of its kind in North America, brings together 5,000 artists to perform 200 shows at 20 venues around the city. Channel your inner goddess at <a href="">Mother Eve's Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood</a> or enjoy a twisted fairytale at <a href=""><em>Snow White Zombie: Apocalypse</em></a>. The incredibly diverse lineup of plays guarantees you'll find something entertaining and engaging regardless of your theatre knowledge. As a bonus, the Fringe makes theatre <em>affordable</em>, with GA tickets going for just $15 if you buy them in advance. <br/><br/><em>August 10th - 26th // <a href="">Multiple venues</a> // <a href="">Tickets available online</a>, by phone, or in person at <a href="">FringeCENTRAL</a></em>

Photo via isaiahlt's Flickr

<br/><br/>The <a href="">Faux-Real Theatre Company</a> has taken the The Argonautica, the Greek poem written by Apollonius Rhodius in the year 3 BC, and have put a "avant-garde rock concert" spin on it. In <a href=""><strong>Jason and the Argonauts</strong></a>, follow Jason on his quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece with Hercules, Orpheus and Medea by his side. The performance promises "ribald acting, bouzoukis (Greek guitars), drummers, platform shoes, and a chariot-full of masks and flashy costumes" and nary a white toga in sight!<br/><br/><em>Saturday, August 25, 2012, 8 p.m. // <a href=";East River Park&lt;/a&gt; // Free&lt;/em&gt;"></a></em>

Photo via Dave Surgan's Flickr

<br/><br/>Cancelled last summer due to Hurricane Irene, the 8th Annual <a href=""><strong>Afropunk Festival</strong></a> is back this year and it's sure to be a blast. Be part of the free action as music and sports collide in Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn at the end of the month. Music artists such as Erykah Badu, Gym Class Heroes, Das Racist, Toro Y Moi, Reggie Watts, Janelle Monae, and more are scheduled to perform and the nation's top amateur skaters will compete in the Nike Battle For the Streets Skate Competition, the largest street skate competition in NYC. <em>(Carrie Dennis)</em><br/><br/><em>August 25th - 26th // Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park // Free</em>

Photo via eatsdirt's Flickr

<br/><br/>Enjoy one of New York's lovely beaches at <a href=""><strong>Back to the Beach</strong></a>, held on Staten Island's Midland Beach. Borough President James P. Molinaro hosts a weekend of fun in the sun with music, food and lots of activities for people of all ages. The festivities begin each day at noon and conclude at 9 p.m. with a special fireworks display on Saturday evening.<br/><br/><em>August 18th and 19th, noon - 9 p.m. // <a href=",+Staten+Island,+NY&amp;hl=en">Midland Beach Sea Turtle Circle</a> // Free</em>

Photo via 's Flickr

<br/><br/>In the mood for a refreshing 2.4 mile swim in the Hudson followed by a relaxing 112-mile bike ride on the Palisades Parkway concluding with a leisurely 26.2 mile run from New Jersey to Manhattan? Then the <a href=""><strong>Ironman US Championship</strong></a> might just be the event for you! Sadly, registration for this monster endurance event is already sold out but that doesn't mean you'll miss out on all the action! Spectators can view the athletes as they run the final portion of the event in Riverside Park or catch a spectator ferry leaving from the West 39th Street Ferry Terminal to watch the big dip in the Hudson.<br/><br/><em>Saturday, August 11th, Event begins at 6:50 a.m.</em>

Photo via cisc1970's Flickr

<br/><br/>Discover the Lower East Side's rich Jewish heritage at the <a href=""><strong>Nosh and Stroll</strong></a> tour by the Museum at Eldridge Street. Enjoy the beautiful architecture of local synagogues, explore "socialist hot spots" and visit Yiddish newspaper buildings. The noshing will be provided by local vendors with a special visit to the "best pickle shop in New York City."<br/><br/><em>Sunday, August 5th, 11 a.m. // <a href="">Tickets</a> $25 adults, $18 students and seniors</em>

Photo via Harris Graber's Flickr

<br/><br/>Don't worry if you missed it the <a href="">first time around</a>, the <a href=""><strong>Jazz-Age Lawn Party</strong></a> returns to Governors Island for a second time this summer. Don your best 20s attire—<a href="">look to Hipster Cop</a> for inspiration, gentlemen—and get ready to Charleston the day away! Lots of tasty treats will be available for purchase—though you're also welcome to BYO picnic, minus the hooch!—plus a 1920s motorcar exhibition, a Tug O' War contest and a bevy of other jazz age-themed activities. For a look at what's in store, check out this <a href="">gorgeous video</a> from the event earlier this summer.<br/><br/>August 18th and 19th, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. // Governos Island // <a href="">Admission $15</a>

Photo via Silvia Saponaro photography's Flickr

<br/><br/><a href="">Electric Zoo</a>, New York's annual electronic music festival, is back this summer for another weekend at Randall's Island Park. The massive, all-ages electro dance party kicks off on Friday, August 31 and runs through the weekend. This year's lineup includes E-Zoo veterans such as French DJ David Guetta, Skrillex, and Steve Aoki, as well as newcomers like Dada Life and Maya Jane Coles. <a href="">Tickets are still available</a>, with options for GA, VIP, or Platinum experience passes. <em>(Claire Voon)</em><br/><br/><em>August 31 - September 2nd // Randall's Island</em>

<br/><br/>Enjoy free performances from professional and emerging dancers and choreographers at the <a href=""><strong>Downtown Dance Festival</strong></a>, presented by the Battery Dance Company. The festival, now in its 31st year, is the longest-running public dance festival in the city and brings performers from around the world to showcase their work. This year, a 15-member troupe called Sri Warison from Singapore will present authentic Malay ethnic dance and a group from New Paltz will perform a tribute to folk legend Woody Guthrie. On the 17th, the 5th Edition of the Erasing Borders of Indian Dance Festival will celebrate the Indian Culture as seen through dance.<br/><br/><em>August 11th - 18th // Battery Park, One New York Plaza and Dance New Amsterdam // Free</em>

Photo via urbanblitz's Flickr

<br/><br/>Queens gets a dose of all things Latino during the <a href=""><strong>2012 Latino Cultural Festival</strong></a> happening at the Queens Theatre. Celebrate the lively sounds of latin music like bachata and watch a short film festival with local Latin directors and writers. Spanish speakers can yuck it up to the comedy of radio DJ Hugo "El Gordo" Cadelago and all visitors are welcome to view the free Ray Rosario art exhibition at the theatre.<br/><br/><em>August 16th - 19th // <a href="">Queens Theatre</a> // <a href=";prod=5763">Tickets available here</a></em>

Photo via Gary Burke's Flickr

<br/><br/>Do you enjoy movies? Do you like live comedy? If so, how about combine the two at a screening of <em>Top Gun</em> with live commentary by comics in the front row! Take the <strike>Highway to the Danger Zong</strike> subway to Nitehawk Cinema for <a href=""><strong>The Raspberry Brothers: Top Gun</strong></a> and get ready to see the high flying film in a completely different light. The <em>Mystery Science</em>-esque show goes down at midnight so you'll have plenty of time to get a buzz on before-hand and keep it going with that convenient waitress-delivered beer the Nitehawk has goin' on.<br/><br/><em>August 17th and 18th, midnight // <a href="">Nitehawk Cinema</a> // <a href="">Tickets $15</a></em>

<br/><br/>Experience an (almost) car-free Manhattan with the return of <a href=""><strong>Summer Streets</strong></a> this month. Go for a stroll or ride your bike without fear of being run over and enjoy activities like tai chi and bachata lessons and performances by a double dutch league and Ecuadorian dancers. There will be bike repair stations in case you spring a flat and free bike and rollerblade rentals if you don't have your own wheels. Whole Foods will have a picnic area set up in midtown if you're feeling peckish and a zip line will be set up at the Foley Square rest stop if you're feeling adventurous!<br/><br/><em>August 4th, 11th and 18th, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. // Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park along Lafayette/Park Avenue. Find the <a href="">complete route here</a></em>

Photo via christiNYCa's Flickr

<br/><br/>The <a href=""><strong>Rural Route Film Festival</strong></a> focuses on rural life through fiction, documentary and experimental films. The festival is dedicated to"highlighting people, places, and cultures not normally represented in mainstream media," and filmmakers often overlooked in mainstream presentations. The festival begins with Ron Fricke's silent film <em>Baraka</em>, which explores "the wonders of a world…through man’s and nature’s prisms of symmetry, savagery, harmony, and chaos." Other films chronicle a child's journey from rural Maharashtra to Mumbai, the trials and tribulations of running a farm and other rural motifs. <br/><br/><em>August 3rd - 5th // <a href="">Museum of the Moving Image</a> // <em>Baraka</em> $12, the rest free</em>

Photo via Museum of the Moving Image, Peter Aaron/Esto

<br/><br/>Food trucks, food trucks and more food trucks! That's the bottom line at <a href=""><strong>Parked! A Food Truck Festival</strong></a> going down at the South Street Seaport. Over 30 trucks will idle by the river and dish out signature bites of cupcakes, grilled cheese, tacos and everything in-between. Big names at this year's fest include CoolHaus, Gorilla Cheese Truck, Red Hook Lobster Pound and many, many, many more. Live music from John Hammond, The Juggs, The Loom, and Johnnie Lee Jordan &amp; The Boys will soundtrack the event and designated beer and champagne (!) gardens will keep everyone well lubricated. <br/><br/><em>August 4th, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. // South Street Seaport // Free</em>

Photo via Scoboco's Flickr

<br/><br/>The Art of Brooklyn has put together its second <a href="!about/c1mxq"><strong>Brooklyn Film Festival</strong></a> to showcase work from emerging filmmakers who are "Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-based and/or Brooklyn-centric." We're particularly excited for <em>Home Movies Reconsidered</em>, drawn from a selection of the director's father's 8mm films shot between 1937 and 1967 in New York City, strung together with an original soundtrack. There's even a film with former Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson! And before you jump to any conclusions, the organizers emphasize: "From Boerum Hill to Bergen Beach, Fort Greene to Flatlands: It's only Brooklyn when you count every neighborhood and every community."<br/><br/><em>August 4th - 12th // <a href="">St. Francis College</a> // <a href="!tickets/c1z09">Tickets</a>: Festival Pass $45, Individual Screenings $10</em>

Photo via Pabo76's Flickr

<br/><br/>Set aside your hectic NYC schedule and push all those deadlines and stresses out of your head for a few hours at <a href=""><strong>Peace in the Park</strong></a>, an afternoon of meditation and relaxation at the Central Park Bandshell. Measure your daily life on the "peacefulness" scale and examine the connection between mind, body and spirit. View the <em>Visions of a Better World</em> exhibit and learn about earth care initiatives to spread peacefulness globally. There will be activities for the kiddies in celebration of "International Youth Day" and fun and games for people of all ages. Come on, give peace a chance! <br/><br/><em>Friday, August 10th, 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. // Central Park Bandshell // Free</em>

Photo via Dan Nguyen's Flickr

<br/><br/>Go check out a screening of the <em>other</em> cult Coen Brothers film, <em>Raising Arizona</em>, as part of <a href="">Summerscreen at McCarren Park</a>. Baby stealing! Bank robbing! Diaper theft! This 1987 comedy has all that and more, including standout performances by Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage (remember those days?) and the typical madcap writing we expect from the brothers Coen. Arrive early to listen to sets by Dustin Wong, Talk Normal and Tim Harrington and imbibe a few $4 Sixpoints and some food truck fare before the film begins at sundown.<br/><br/><em>Wednesday, August 22nd, doors 6 p.m., bands 6:30 p.m. // Free</em>

Photo via nrvlowdown's Flickr

<br/><br/>Unicycles get their weekend in the spotlight with a three-day festival celebrating the one-wheeled wonder. The <a href=""><strong>NYC Unicycle Festival</strong></a> begins Friday with Brookyln Unicycle Day, a 13 mile trek for experienced unicycle riders, starting with a ride over the Brooklyn Bridge and concluding with a Coney Island Unicycle Jam by Deno's Wonder Wheel. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the unicycle takes over Governor's Island with unicycle basketball and hockey, a "Hell on Wheels" trial course for extreme unicycle riders and displays by World-famous riders throughout the day. Never ridden anything with less than two wheels? Get lessons from the pros on how to ride without falling on your face!<br/><br/><em>August 31st - September 2nd // Brooklyn and Governor's Island // Free</em>

Photo via Demetrios Manolatos's Flickr